Amidst the breaking news of horrifying attacks and rising civilian casualties as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it can be difficult to know how to help. This past Sunday, ambassador for Unicef and former soccer star David Beckham decided to use his fame to bring awareness to particular issues in Ukraine so that those who want to contribute can do so meaningfully.
Instead of addressing his followers directly, Beckham handed his Instagram account over to child anesthesiologist and head of the regional perinatal center in Kharkiv, Iryna. Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city and has been regularly targeted by Russian shelling over the past three weeks.
As reported by The Guardian, Iryna took over Beckham’s Instagram stories to show his 71.5 million followers the cramped basement in which she and her colleagues must work every day. This is also where all pregnant women and new mothers were evacuated to when the Russian invasion began.
The doctor also shared photos of newborn babies in the makeshift intensive care unit, showing how the babies are kept alive with oxygen generators donated by Unicef. A young mother whose family home was destroyed also made an appearance. The mother, whose name is Yana, held her newborn son, Mykhailo, who was suffering from breathing problems.
Iryna and her colleagues are now working “24/7,” and even though she knows that “[they] are probably risking [their] lives… [they] don’t think about it at all.” She adds: “We love our work… Doctors and nurses here, we worry, we cry, but none of us will give up.”
In a video post, Beckham encourages his followers to donate to Unicef, so that the organization can continue to provide families with access to clean water and food, deliver ready-to-use kits to maternity hospitals, and ensure that child protection services endure.
“Thanks to your donations, the oxygen generators they have received are helping newborns survive in appalling conditions,” he says, finishing his statement by declaring that “together, we can really make a difference.”